Indiana’s new Governor Mike Pence has signed in to law a bill that will “pause’’ the state’s involvement in the nationwide Common Core education agenda. That fact that this is happening in Indiana has some very specific political significance, while the fact that it is happening at all has broad ramifications.
Before getting in to the meaning of Pence’s maneuver, consider some facts about Common Core. Officially named the “Common Core State Standards Initiative,” the agenda is not, itself, about curriculum mandates. It is a set of academic standards that students in the various grade levels are expected to achieve, in the states that have agreed to adopt the standards.
It is also the case that Common Core was created by the Obama Administration, but rather, it is actually an effort that first emerged at the state level, undertaken by state governors and state superintendents of education nationwide. The official sponsoring organizations of the initiative are the National Governor’s Association (“NGA”), and the Council of Chief State School Officers (“CCSO”).
Attempts to impose academic standards on public educators date back to the early 1980’s. In the 1990’s it became a state-driven matter, while The federal No Child Left Behind Act, signed in to law by President George W Bush in January of 2002, required the states to create their own academic standards, and then to achieve them, in order to receive federal education funds.
During the past decade, state Governors and state education Superintendents began to collaborate in an effort to bring uniformity to their respective states’ academic standards, and today, there are three primary organizations that advance the Common Core agenda. The NGA and the CCSO, as noted above, remain as the official sponsoring organizations of the initiative. Separately, a group called Common Core, Inc., a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 organization based in Washington, D.C., writes curriculum (not academic standards) that is intended to help educators comply with Common Core Standards.
Supporters of the Common Core State Standards like to remind people that the initiative receives bipartisan support around the country. This is true - both the right-leaning “Excellence In Education Foundation.” a group headed by former Republican Governor Jeb Bush, and the left-wing American Federation of Teachers, support Common Core. Similarly, both Republican and Democrat Governors - including Governor Butch Otter (R-Idaho), Governor Jerry Brown (D-California), and Governor Duval Patrick (D-Massachusetts), all support the Common Core effort.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.